IT is a strenuous and sometimes perilous course that pushes even the most experienced of cyclists to the limit.
And for Queen Margaret University academic Trevor Laffin, the 2000-mile Tour de France route will undoubtedly be one of the toughest challenges of his life.
The 53-year-old is set to cycle the full route of the Tour one week before the professional cyclists take part in the famous competition.
During the 21 days of cycling he will burn off around 177,000 calories – roughly the calorie equivalent of 535 tins of baked beans.
Trevor, who lives in Portobello, said he was “excited and nervous” about the challenge ahead.
“I have cycled all my life and have always been interested in the Tour,” he said. “I just decided this year with it being the 100th Tour de France that it was time I did something about it. I’ve wanted to do it before but never had the opportunity.
“I’m doing it with an organisation called Tour de Force based in Edinburgh; we will have 40 people from around the UK – eight from Edinburgh – who are doing the whole route.”
Trevor, head of the division of business, enterprise and management at the university, is in serious training for the event, which begins in Corsica on June 22 and ends in Paris on Bastille Day, July 14. The Tour will give him the opportunity to cycle through the Pyrenees and the Alps – parts of the epic journey that Trevor said he is most and least looking forward to.
“Never having done it before, I’m really excited, but they’re also the most formidable parts of the bike ride,” he said.
“I’ve never cycled anything like the Tour de France before, I’ve done one or two day events but nothing like this.”
Trevor is covering the costs of the trip himself – around £2500 – in order to ensure that all the cash he raises goes to the William Wates Memorial Trust (WWMT).
The Tour de Force was created by and for the WWMT and is its main fundraising event.
The charity aims to help the most disadvantaged young people keep away from a life of crime and violence and fulfil their potential.
The charity was set up in 1998 to celebrate the life of William Wates, who was tragically killed while travelling in South America in 1996.
Trevor, who will post blogs during the trip, hopes to raise more than £2000 for the Trust, and already has around £1600 in sponsorship.
To support his fundraising efforts, he has arranged a fundraising quiz night in the Queen Margaret Students’ Union on March 1 at 6pm. Trevor, who said he wanted to prove that he was still “fit and capable” of completing a challenge of this scale, joked that the reason behind him deciding to do the cycle was because he was “going through a mid-life crisis”.
His rigorous training regime for the 3360km journey includes cycling, spinning classes and going to the gym – and Queen Margaret University said it had physiotherapists, nutritionists and podiatrists all in the wings ready to offer specialist support to Trevor.
Preparation is everything for mammoth journey
To get in shape for the tour, Trevor Laffin is working with QMU fitness trainer Dougie Gair, who is helping him with core gym work twice a week.
Trevor is also attending spinning classes at the city’s LifesCycle three times a week, as well as training with the Portobello cycling club two to three times each week.
He cycles around 160 miles every weekend, which will increase to 200 miles by March.
“I’m training hard for it, every day there is something going on,” he said. “I’m giving it my best shot.”
Trevor will take part in a cycling tour of East Lothian on Sunday. During 21 days of cycling the entire route of the 2013 Tour de France, he will burn up a staggering 177,000 calories and will eat plenty of pasta to keep his energy up.